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Professional Development

Expand Professional Guidance for Under-Resourced, Emerging Adults

By Katherine ChOw and Vincent GrOspe
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Applying to jobs, internships, and higher education is competitive and stressful. Knowing how to create a résumé or CV, perfecting your answer as to why you are applying for this position, and networking with other professionals is not formally taught in most schools. Nevertheless, the hidden curriculum of professionalism affects under-resourced, emerging adults the most, as they may not have a social network that can provide guidance on these matters. Therefore, we propose the creation of a series of workshops that teach under-resourced, emerging adults (ages 18-24) about professional development followed by one-on-one resume, CV, and Linkedin feedback opportunities with experienced mentors and professionals. 


Personally surveying five emerging adults who are People of Color and come from low socioeconomic status (SES), we noticed that none of them have received any kind of formal guidance in creating a résumé, CV, personal narrative, or Linkedin account. Some of their parents are first-generation immigrants who have occupations that do not call for a resume or Linkedin account. Therefore, under-resourced, emerging adults may not have as many professional contacts or as much career guidance in comparison to their wealthier peers. However, the need still exists, especially as jobs and internships are very important sources of income and career opportunities that enable social mobility. Professionalism, ranging from resumes to interview skills to appropriate attire, affect one’s ability to land a position and advance in a career.  Karina Wang, a lecturer for a seminar regarding skills needed to succeed as an adult (Public Affairs 191A: Health Transitions for Emerging Adults), discussed the importance of presentation when applying for jobs. She mentioned that “adults know when they’re talking to young adults” and the way that one presents themselves to others has a huge impact on how these adults perceive an applicant.  This is why it is imperative to have a workshop series to improve professional documents and interviewing skills that are often the first step in landing a job. 


If under-resourced communities do not have the same opportunities to prepare them to present their experiences and strengths in the same way that their peers might, they are at a disadvantage when it comes to applying for jobs and internships. Gaining professional experience during college is essential for career development as well as working towards a better understanding of future goals and aspirations. All students should have the same opportunity to succeed in higher education, and it should not be biased based upon inherent access to resources or wealth. 


The intended outcome of this workshop series would be to even the playing field for students in terms of applying to jobs, internships, and different types of positions. For students from under-resourced backgrounds, receiving personalized feedback on professional documents as well as tips and tricks about how to best interview is not always something that they have access to. However, with this program, we hope to close the gap in access to professional resources, so that all are able to be equally competitive in the job and internship market.


1 Wang, Karina. “Professionalism, Resume, Interview.” Public Affairs 191A: Public Affairs: Health Transitions for Emerging Adults. Lecture, December 12, 2020.

2  Wang, Karina. “Professionalism, Resume, Interview.” Public Affairs 191A: Public Affairs: Health Transitions for Emerging Adults. Lecture, December 12, 2020.  

2021 Summer Workshop Series

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